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CyberAlert -- 12/01/2000 -- NBC Tied Gore to "Honesty"

NBC Tied Gore to "Honesty"; GOP Absentee Felony; Thomas Grudge Against Gore?; Kaplan Angry About Missing Big Story

1) Dan Rather warned the "Republican-dominated legislature is moving" to give the state's electors to Bush "no matter what" and NBC's David Bloom reported that by supporting such a move the Bush brothers were "dropping any pretense of neutrality."

2) ABC and NBC both highlighted Bush's response to NBC reporter David Gregory's question about being out of touch with Gregory himself noting how Bush laughed while ABC's Dean Reynolds intoned: "That was a serious question and I'm not sure that Bush really thought it was all that funny."

3) ABC's Mike von Fremd ominously warned: "Democrats say two Republican workers committed a felony when they added vote identification numbers to the applications after they had been received by the supervisor of elections."

4) "The fairness and the truth depend on how you look at it," asserted NBC's Roger O'Neill as he wondered: "Could both be right?" O'Neill tied Gore to this definition of "fair": "Marked by impartiality and honesty."

5) Of all the Supreme Court Justices, only one has a personal conflict of interest in today's case, CBS's Eric Engberg implied of Clarence Thomas: "He surely remembers that one of the 48 votes against him was cast by a Senator from Tennessee."

6) FNC's Brit Hume dissected a Los Angles Times headline which proclaimed: "Gore Pushes Rush Recount as Bush Stalls."

7) Clinton-Gore operative turned ABC News analyst George Stephanopoulos conceded on Imus in the Morning that "I think it's almost impossible for Al Gore to become President."

8) "Those a------s cost me one of the biggest stories of all time," an angry Rick Kaplan declared of his former employers at CNN where until recently he presided.


>>> Now up on the MRC home page: The November 27 edition of Notable Quotables, a bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Amongst the quote headings: "Decisive 'Tax Dodgers'?"; "W Stands for Wallace"; "Partisan Hack with Bad Makeup"; "Haranguing Hardline Harris"; "Republicans Tried to Snow Us!"; "Boisterous Boosting of Boies"; "The Florida Supreme Court, 'Moderate to Conservative'?" and "Help! James Baker Might Hit Me With His 'Fear Stick.'" Go to where it's been posted in HTML format by the MRC's Andy Szul and Kristina Sewell:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/notablequotables/2000/nq20001127.asp
For a life-like Adobe Acrobat PDF rendition, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/notablequotables/2000/pdf/nov272000nq.pdf <<<

Correction: The November 30 CyberAlert referred to "Leon County Judge Sanders Saunders." His name is Sanders Sauls.

1

CBS and NBC delighted Thursday night in the political controversy the Florida legislature would cause if it moves ahead to select electors. Dan Rather stressed how the "Republican-dominated legislature is moving ahead" to give the state's electors to Bush "no matter what" and NBC's David Bloom oddly reported that by supporting such an action George W. and Jeb Bush were "dropping any pretense of neutrality," as if either should be neutral.

Rather introduced the November 30 CBS Evening News story: "Florida's Republican-dominated legislature is moving ahead in its own way to insure that it will be all over for Gore. CBS's Jim Axelrod reports that the Florida legislature is planning a special session to guarantee the state's decisive 25 electoral votes go to Bush no matter what."

In an NBC Nightly News story on how Joe Lieberman condemned the idea of the legislature stepping in, David Bloom asserted:
"But dropping any pretense of neutrality, both Bush brothers made clear today if the courts do not quickly resolve this disputed presidential election, the Florida legislature will."
George W: "All options are on the table, but one of our strategies is to get this election ratified and the sooner the better for the good of the country."
Jeb: "I know that the Gore campaign would love for me to basically disown my family, but look, I'm going to do what's right."

2

Out of touch Bush laughing inappropriately? The broadcast networks Thursday night all showed the photo-op at Bush's ranch of Bush with Colin Powell, but all also focused on whether Bush has been "out of touch." ABC and NBC both highlighted Bush's response to NBC reporter David Gregory's question about being out of touch with Gregory himself noting how Bush laughed while ABC's Dean Reynolds intoned: "That was a serious question and I'm not sure that Bush really thought it was all that funny."

Picking up on his own question, on the NBC Nightly News, David Gregory observed: "Today Bush laughs in the face of questions that he's appeared out of touch lately by delegating so much of the transition work to his running mate Dick Cheney."
Bush: "That's pretty humorous Dave [laughs]. Thank you all for coming."

ABC's Dean Reynolds wrapped up his World News Tonight piece on the Powell trip to Crawford: "When Bush was asked if his brief public appearance today was a response to stories that he'd been out of touch at his ranch and overshadowed by Al Gore's media blitz this week, he just laughed." After a couple of seconds of video of Bush laughing, Reynolds told Peter Jennings: "But you know what, Peter, that was a serious question and I'm not sure that Bush really thought it was all that funny."

On the CBS Evening News, Bill Whitaker began: "Like reinforcements Dick Cheney and General Colin Powell rode up to George Bush's Texas refuge for a well-orchestrated photo-op, elder big guns adding credibility to his presidential claims....They came to talk transition. Bush seems to want everyone to know he wants Powell for Secretary of State, but with the election in limbo, so is Powell's future."

Whitaker outlined the strategy, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, but stressed concern about it: "The pilgrimage to this remote ranch is part of the strategy to keep Bush above the fray, away from ugly legal wranglings, leaving the dirty work to his Florida big gun James Baker, who's calling the shots for the Bush-Cheney team there. It's a hands off approach put in place right after election day that even has some GOP insiders asking who's in charge. Today the Governor's spokesman had to respond."
Ari Fleischer: "He makes the decisions, that's right."
Whitaker continued: "And right now he's decided to move forward with his transition."
George W. Bush: "When the counting finally stops, we want to be prepared to lead this nation. That's what we were elected to do."
Whitaker concluded: "Despite such bold talk, Bush doesn't plan to announce any cabinet names until or unless this election is resolved in his favor."

3

ABC Thursday night highlighted the Seminole County lawsuit over Republicans filling in voter ID numbers on absentee ballot applications which were accidentally printed without a space for the applicant to enter their ID number. Reporter Mike von Fremd ominously warned on World News Tonight: "Democrats say two Republican workers committed a felony when they added vote identification numbers to the applications after they had been received by the supervisor of elections."

Von Fremd explained how election supervisor Sandra Goard said she would have allowed Democrats to do the same thing if they had asked, but he countered that a Democratic candidate for county commissioner, Dean Ray, maintained that Goard denied him access to correct application forms submitted by his supporters.

Von Fremd concluded: "The lawsuit before Judge Nikki Clark asks that all Seminole County absentee ballots be disqualified. And if she agrees Al Gore could pick up more than 4,000 votes."

More like Bush would lose 4,000 votes more than would Gore.

4

Here's a thought for you propounded by NBC News reporter Roger O'Neill: "Mr. Gore probably prefers 'marked by impartiality and honesty.'" O'Neill provided a deep think piece for Thursday's NBC Nightly News about how both Gore and Bush "can't see the forest for the trees" as both think they are striving for fairness and he concluded without offering any judgment on who is correct, which in itself furthered the notion that both points of view are equally credible.

After playing soundbites of each proposing a "fair" solution, O'Neill linked each to a specific definition: "In the dictionary, 'fair' is a word with several meanings. Mr. Gore probably prefers 'marked by impartiality and honesty.' But Mr. Bush might like 'conforming with the established rules.' Could both be right? Gore demanding every vote be counted, Bush answering they have been. Both men, though, unable to see the fairness of each other's point of view."

Over a shot of a painting with a figure hidden in trees, O'Neill concluded: "As the election grinds to a conclusion, maybe, like in this painting, it's not the trees of Al Gore or George W. Bush, but the forest representing the democracy that's at stake. The fairness and the truth depend on how you look at it."

5

Of all the Supreme Court Justices, only one, Clarence Thomas, has a personal conflict of interest in today's case, CBS's Eric Engberg implied in reminding viewers of how Al Gore voted against his confirmation.

In anticipation of today's oral arguments, on the November 30 CBS Evening News Engberg reviewed the inclinations of all nine justices, dividing them into groups. Under "Dad's Picks," Engberg explained:
"Two justices were named by George W's father. But one of them, David Souter, regularly angers Republicans with moderate votes. The other, Clarence Thomas, had to endure an ultra-partisan confirmation fight."
Thomas, October 1991: "I will not provide the rope for my own lynching."
Engberg: "And he surely remembers that one of the 48 votes against him was cast by a Senator from Tennessee."

CBS then played a video clip of the Senate clerk calling Gore's name during the 1991 voice vote on Thomas.

Souter's "moderate votes"? We wish.

6

Al Gore has spent weeks delaying the Florida result, but the Los Angeles Times on Thursday asserted that Bush had "stalled" the recount effort in the state. A headline in the paper proclaimed: "Gore Pushes Rush Recount as Bush Stalls."

FNC's Brit Hume dissected the headline, explaining on Special Report with Brit Hume:
"The Los Angeles Times says this day that Vice President Gore is pushing a rush recount while, quote 'Bush stalls.' But the only alleged stalling mentioned in the story was the Bush side request that all the ballots from Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties should be brought to Tallahassee.
"The Times said the Bush team was trying to quote, 'overwhelm the court system' with the ballots. But the Gore legal team did not object, it only urged that the ballots it wanted be sent a day earlier than the Judge had called for. The Bush team did not object to that. But the judge decided to stick to his original schedule, which means that nothing was changed -- either stalled or accelerated -- by anything that happened, The Los Angeles Times to the contrary."

7

One liberal lost. Clinton-Gore operative turned ABC News analyst George Stephanopoulos conceded on Imus in the Morning on Wednesday that "I think it's almost impossible for Al Gore to become President."

MRC analyst Paul Smith caught what Stephanopoulos told Imus on his radio show simulcast on MSNBC:
"Even if he gets every single break -- let's say that the circuit county judge allows these Miami-Dade votes to be counted again, and it gives Gore another thousand votes and he pulls ahead, what's going to happen? We know that the Florida legislature is going to say, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. No way, we're going to appoint a separate slate of electors.' So the situation would be you'd have one slate of electors, perhaps ordered by the Supreme Court to be sent to the Electoral College, and another slate ordered by the Florida legislature. They're going to announce later today they're probably going into special session. When they're both sent to the Congress, you've got a situation where you have a majority in the House that will approve the Bush slate, and a majority in the Senate with Al Gore breaking the tie that would approve the Gore slate. But even in that situation, according to this 1887 statute which governs the Electoral College and how federal elections are run, the slate that counts is the one that's signed by the Governor."

8

"Those a------s cost me one of the biggest stories of all time," an angry Rick Kaplan declared in denouncing his former employers at CNN.

Kaplan, the ABC News veteran who was President of CNN until August, uttered the remark to New York Daily News columnist Mitchell Fink in an item highlighted Thursday by Jim Romenesko's MediaNews (http://www.poynter.org/medianews/)

Fink reported, in his November 30 column, what Kaplan told him at a party for CNN entertainment reporter Laurin Sydney's new how-to book on entertaining, Why Bother? Why Not! An excerpt from Fink:

Of all the times Rick Kaplan could have picked to be out of work...

The former CNN President finds himself uncomfortably on the sidelines during this most historic of presidential elections, and he doesn't like it one bit.

Does he miss being part of the 24-hour news cycle?

"Big-time," was how he put it when I ran into him Tuesday at the upper East Side home of New York's Consumer Affairs chief, Jane Hoffman.

"Don't get me started," Kaplan said. "I've been a good soldier (since his ouster at CNN in August). But those a------s (meaning his former employers) cost me one of the biggest stories of all time."

Kaplan is nevertheless getting on with his life and will start teaching a course at Harvard in the spring. The subject, naturally, is journalism, and it deals "with privacy issues and whether the media's intrusion into people's lives has cost America in the talent pool of political candidates."....

END Excerpt

Think there's any correlation between the MRC finding less bias in CNN coverage lately and Kaplan's absence from the CNN control room? -- Brent Baker


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